Blue Jays starter Carlos Villanueva had a pretty strong hold on the Rangers offense on Saturday. He breezed through four innings, striking out one and getting most of his outs via the fly ball and ground out. In the fifth inning, though, his luck changed. To start the fifth, Adrian Beltre hit a long fly ball to right field that was lost in the sun and bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. Nelson Cruz hit a no doubter on the first Villanueva offering to put the Rangers up 2-1. That would be all the offense the Rangers needed to secure the win.
The big story of the day for the Rangers was the pitching. Let’s start at the beginning and look at each pitcher:
Roy Oswalt: Oswalt tossed sixty-two pitches over four and two-thirds innings with one earned run on two hits; he also gave up 2 walks, but struck out five. He looked sharp in his first two innings, but came up on some trouble in the third. After getting Jeff Mathis to ground out, he walked Anthony Gose. With Adeiny Hechavarria at bat, Gose stole second and was then balked over to third. Hechavarria then lined a single to left field, allowing Gose to score. In the fourth, Oswalt started the inning by hitting Edwin Encarnacion, but he got the next two batters out on a ground out and a fly out. Despite having gotten Colby Rasmus twice already, he was pulled, thus ending his day.
Robbie Ross: Ross went one and one-thirds innings with three hits, no runs and three strikeouts. He dispatched Rasmus to end the fifth and then came out to pitch the sixth. After striking out Encarnacion, he gave up two straight singles, but managed to strike out Kelly Johnson for the second out. He loaded the bases with a Mathis single, but the ball was snuffed by Ian Kinsler, which saved at least one run from scoring. Ross then dispatched Gose to end the inning.
Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers only pitched one-third of an inning, giving up two hits and one walk. He gave up a ground rule double to Hechavarria and then a single to Rajai Davis. With Rasmus at bat, Davis stole second, but Rasmus popped up to Beltre to notch the first out. Scheppers then intentionally walked Encarnacion. With the walk, his day was over.
Michael Kirkman: Kirkman went two-thirds of an inning and came in to a one out, bases loaded situation. He proceeded to get two crucial fly ball outs to end the inning. Since Oswalt did not go the required five complete innings, Kirkman was awarded the win, and given the situation he entered, he deserved the W.
Mike Adams: Adams pitched the complete eight inning and had one of his best, most efficient outings as of late. He dispatched the three Toronto batters via two ground outs and a pop up out. He only needed five pitches to complete the inning.
Joe Nathan: Joe Nathan came in to pitch the ninth inning and also dispatched three consecutive batters, which helped secure his 24th save of the 2012 season. He had pitched very sparingly over the last 10 days, and it was nice to see him come out and pitch a clean inning in relief.